Dear Recent College Grads, Here's How to Write a Great Cover Letter
Hot jobs on the muse.
A job search can quickly become a full-time job on its own. As a recent graduate looking for your next step, you might be tempted to attach your resume and click apply without bothering to send an accompanying cover letter. But taking the time to write one is worth the effort. This is the only place where you have free rein to explain why you’re interested in the job and how exactly you’re a good match. A compelling letter makes it so much easier for the reader to think, “ Yes! Let’s interview them!”
In my experience as a hiring manager, a cover letter can make or break my interest in moving forward with a candidate. If an application doesn’t include one, I’m almost certain to pass unless the resume is pretty much a perfect match. Admittedly, there are other recruiters and hiring managers who don’t look at the cover letter at all—but it’s best to assume that they will (it certainly beats wondering if you didn’t make the cut just because you didn’t send one!). And even if they don’t read it, you’re still ahead of the game in your preparation if you get called for an interview.
The basics of a cover letter boil down to this outline:
- An introductory paragraph (who you are, why this company and this job, and a bridge between the two)
- One or two themed paragraphs (highlighting and showing you have skills that match the job)
- A closing paragraph (some quick additional highlights and a request to speak further)
Four paragraphs should be a breeze—I bet you’ve written plenty of assignments longer than that to earn your degree! So how can you leverage your letter to effectively win over the recruiter or hiring manager even as a new grad who doesn’t have much experience?
Here are seven tips along with an example of what a recent college graduate cover letter could look like.
1. Tell Them Who You Are
Right off the bat, the person reading your letter is going to want to know some basic information in the introductory paragraph—like a quick synopsis of who you are, what you’re applying for, and why you’re interested in this opportunity. Sharing up front that you’re a recent grad signals that you’re likely able to be onboarded quickly, which is great if they need an expedited hiring process (or if they’re looking to train new talent). Here’s what a quick opening might look like:
Dear Mr. Fortman,
I am excited to submit my application for the UX Designer opening at CompanyDesign. As a recent graduate with a software engineering degree from Big State University, I am confident I could contribute to the success of your team.
2. Highlight Why This Company
Once you introduce yourself, it’s time to tell the reader why you’re trying to land a job at this specific organization. Showing them clearly and explicitly why you’re interested, excited, or passionate about the work they do and explaining how you’re connected to it can help convince them to add you to their interview list.
If you have some sort of contact at the company—someone at the company referred you, you spoke to a recruiter at your college’s career fair or info session, or you have a friend who interned there—mention what you learned from them and how what they shared makes you feel this would be an exciting opportunity and a good fit. Be specific where you can. If you were applying for that UX design role, you might say:
In February, I had the pleasure of speaking with Allison Ro from the product team at a career panel on campus. After learning about the company’s focus on human-centered design and your multidisciplinary team approach to creating products that improve the world, I knew CompanyDesign was where I wanted to work.
If you don’t have any “ins” at the company or first-hand information like this, don’t worry! You can do a bit of sleuthing and research in other ways. What can you find on their website or Muse profile about their work that excites you? Do they have values that are top priorities for you—like sustainability? Check out their mission page to find out! Is their work culture the type of environment where you can thrive and contribute? Have they been in the news recently for innovation or a new product? Find some nuggets of information that resonate with you and weave those specifics into answering the all-important “ Why this company? ” question.
No matter where you got your information, you want to show you understand the company and what you can add as a new hire. Conveying an interest and excitement for working specifically for this job at this company—rather than a desire to get any job at any company that’ll pay you a salary—can go a long way. After all, it can be easier to hire someone who is super into the work you do and needs a bit of training over someone with all the skills who doesn’t care about the work or mesh with the team.
3. Identify Their Needs for This Role
Once you’ve connected at a higher level with the company, the next two paragraphs can help you stand out as a top candidate if you align yourself and your skills closely with what the company needs. Unlike cover letters you may have written when applying to internships , where it may make sense to talk about being excited for the learning opportunity, your focus as a new grad seeking full-time employment should shift to how you can meet the company’s needs. It’s all about how you can contribute to their success rather than the other way around.
The best way to do this is to identify the top skills and qualities for the role and explicitly match those with what you have to offer. Use the job description as your blueprint. Typically, the most important attributes of the role will be mentioned higher up in the description. Pay attention to themes that are repeated throughout, too. If they mention design skills, or aspects of design, in multiple spots that’s an area you should highlight. If they mention collaboration, teamwork, and communication, that’s another clue for a theme you should address.
Unfortunately, not all job descriptions are detailed. If you need more information to figure out what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for, see if you can find a person currently (or previously) in this role—or a similar role—at the company by searching on LinkedIn. You’re likely to get some good insights from their experience entries or the recommendations their colleagues or clients wrote for them. If you have any connections at the company you may be able to get a better sense of what they look for through an informational interview . However, be mindful not to wait too long to get your application in!
4. Demonstrate Your Value—Show, Don’t Tell
Once you’ve done some reconnaissance, pick three or four of the main themes you identified that correlate to the skills, strengths, and attributes you have. Your goal in the next couple of paragraphs of your cover letter will be to share a few stories that demonstrate how you’ll bring those skills, strengths, and attributes to the position.
Having recently graduated, you may be applying to your very first full-time job or trying to get your foot in the door in a role or field you don’t have direct experience in. That’s OK! College classes, internships, research experiences, part-time jobs, work-study programs, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and personal projects can all be used as examples to back up and show your value to the employer. And you can always highlight transferable and additive skills .
If you’re applying to a marketing job and you didn’t land a marketing internship before you graduated, for example, you may have had a relevant class project or gained experience using a similar skill set when you advertised events as a Resident Assistant. Maybe you had a work-study job at the campus bookstore and you maintained its social media pages, or you were in charge of recruiting new students to your student club and increased the membership. Perhaps you had a job where you had to be a data whiz in a fast-paced and collaborative environment and that could be an added benefit to this employer. Find the connections between some of the skills you used in these situations—advertising, telling a story to reach your audience, increasing engagement, and making data-informed decisions—and explain how they can transfer into what was outlined in the job description.
One common pitfall to avoid as a new grad is highlighting things you don’t specifically have yet. If you’re leading with a negative like, “Although I don’t have…”—skip it! Jump right to what you were going to say next. So instead of saying:
Although I don’t have experience with Tableau, I have experience leveraging analytics to make data informed decisions using Looker.
You should just say:
I have experience leveraging analytics to make data informed decisions using Looker.
Remember, with these paragraphs you want to tell a compelling story. Don’t just reiterate the facts on your resume. Take time to highlight the theme(s) you’re focusing on at the beginning of the paragraph. Next, show you have these qualities instead of just saying you have them with nothing to back it up. Share an example that highlights the value you added and connects back to the job opportunity. So if you’re applying for a data analyst role, your paragraph might look like this:
I have experience using business intelligence software and leveraging analytics to make data-informed decisions. While interning at Startup, I used Looker to analyze customer service ratings and identified trends that correlated with high satisfaction ratings. I presented the data to my team along with three key recommendations that I predicted could increase overall customer service ratings by 10%. I discovered that I most enjoy trying to understand the “why” behind the data and translating that into strategies for improvement. I would be thrilled to apply this same motivation to help A-Company manage and gain insights from their data to drive innovation.
5. Show Off Those Soft Skills
When reviewing the job and deciding what to highlight, remember that soft skills , like collaboration and communication, are often highly sought after as well. Technical skills are no use to an employer if you can’t communicate with a client or lead a project to completion. If these skills frequently show up in a job description you may choose to highlight them in a separate paragraph. You can also demonstrate them within stories that showcase your technical themes.
Group projects for internships or classes are prime experiences that can help you highlight many interpersonal skills . Collaborative work, like being on athletic teams or in student clubs, are also gold mines to draw upon as examples.
A word of caution: I often see new grads relay the entire story from the group “we” perspective, which can be detrimental as the employer doesn’t know what you did. It’s important to give context about the makeup of the team, and certainly give credit where credit is due, but then it’s most useful to transition and describe what responsibilities you had, how you contributed to the overall project, and what the outcome was. Here’s an example of how to set up that transition:
Through my Business Insights class, I was part of a team of four students tasked with developing and pitching a new business idea. Once we landed on an idea for a new food delivery service targeting college students, I led our efforts on market analysis...
6. Keep Connecting Back to the Company
Instead of calling it quits after highlighting relevant past experiences and demonstrating your skills and qualities, be sure to tell the reader how what you’re sharing matches with the role and company. This takes the guesswork out of how or if you might be a fit. Don’t assume they’ll make the connections themselves. Spell them out and make them impossible to miss!
You might be noticing a theme here: You should keep looping back to the specific role and company you’re applying for at every turn. From the intro to the experience paragraphs to the closing, you can only strengthen your cover letter by directly aligning yourself with this opportunity.
7. Watch Your Formatting
The content of your letter is most important, but here are some helpful formatting tips for traditional cover letters if you’re new to writing them.
The top of your document should include the following information:
- Your name, address, and contact information
- The company’s address
If you’re writing the cover letter directly in an email, then you can skip those details at the top. But either way, try to include the name of the person to whom you are writing in your greeting. It’s always best if you can find the recruiter or the supervisor for the position so you can address your cover letter to them. If you can’t, then go with something more general like, “ Dear Hiring Manager,” or “ Dear Editorial Team .” Just stay far away from, “ To Whom It May Concern ”!
A few additional pointers:
- Don’t go over the one-page mark.
- Margins are usually between one and 0.7 inches.
- Make sure your font and font size are easily readable. Think Times New Roman or Arial at a font size of 11 or above.
- Sign off formally (“Sincerely” is always solid) and include your contact information below your signature if you didn’t include it elsewhere.
What Does a Good Recent Grad Cover Letter Look Like?
So what does all of this actually look like in practice? Below is a sample cover letter for an entry-level job. Anything in bold directly aligns this candidate with the job description.
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am excited to apply for the Content Specialist (Req. #04321) opening at Consumer P. Company. As a recent graduate from Local College with a communications major and a digital media concentration, I have a passion for elevating consumer products that change the world . After speaking with Tanya Jones at our spring career fair and learning about CPC’s fast-paced environment, collaborative spirit, and goal to reach its audience in creative ways, I knew this role would be perfect. I admire CPC’s mission to design five-star products that make life easier and believe my knowledge and experiences would allow me to add value to the marketing team.
Through my internship at ContentCo I gained hands-on experience in understanding consumer insights, building partnerships with influencers , and developing content strategies . Working on a tight deadline prior to a new product launch, my fellow intern and I gathered early user testimonials, stories, and media . I also developed a short video mockup for a social media campaign that I’m proud to say was selected to be part of the launch. I would be eager to bring these same skills and passion for storytelling to CPC’s brand and world-class products.
During my time at Local College I also gained experience interpreting data and leading social media campaigns. As part of a semester-long project, my group collaborated with a local bakery on their marketing strategies . I led our efforts to launch a new Instagram account and was responsible for data collection and interpretation . Our client implement ed several of our recommendations, which resulted in an increase in social media traffic and purchases. I was particularly motivated by the bakery’s commitment to the community—donating daily to local food pantries—and am excited to know CPC similarly values giving back to the community.
Through my internship and academic experiences in communications, along with my involvement in our college chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), where I learned new trends for innovation in design , I have developed a strong skill set to add value as a CPC Content Specialist. I would be thrilled to speak with you further about how I can contribute to the marketing team. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.
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- English (UK)
- Cover Letter Examples
- New & Recent Graduate Cover Letter Samples & Proper Format
New & Recent Graduate Cover Letter Samples & Proper Format
You’ve just graduated. Time to find your first full-blown job. But how will you outperform all other candidates? Write a perfect cover letter for a recent grad. Here’s how.
As seen in:
In 5 minutes, you’ll know how to write the best recent graduate cover letter out there.
But shall we play a round of Cards Against Humanity first?
Research shows new grads find it difficult to land their first jobs due to ______.
- Increased competition.
- Lack of sufficient networking possibilities.
- Crippling debt.
- A jar full of human teeth and mayonnaise.
- Career service departments not connecting with students.
Yeah, that would be a tough pick.
Seriously, though, looking for jobs as a recent grad is daunting. But for you, it doesn’t have to be.
Let me hand you your weapon X : a perfect cover letter for a recent graduate.
This guide will show you samples of recent graduate cover letters, plus the best tips on how to write a new grad cover letter that stands out like a lighthouse in a sea of boring.
Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from 20+ professional cover letter templates that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.
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Recent Graduate Cover Letter Examples in 2023
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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is expected to grow to 160.3 million jobs in 2024. Data suggests that professionals with bachelor’s degrees generated a median weekly income of $1305 compared to candidates who only possessed high school diplomas. College graduates made over $675 more per week. Although a degree can be a valuable tool to help you jump-start your career within your target industry, you’ll still need to build a compelling cover letter to market yourself effectively during your job search. Below, you’ll find examples for recent graduates across three separate fields.
Downloadable Cover Letter Examples
Recent Graduate Cover Letter Examples (Text Format)
Years of experience.
- Example #1 #1
- Example #2 #2
- Example #3 #3
Curtis Jones Software Developer | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | 123 Address St., Portland, OR 12345
January 1, 2022
Caroline Matthews Hiring Manager Solaris Software Inc. (987) 654-3210 [email protected]
Dear Ms. Matthews,
As an intern at Portland Technology Inc., I collaborated with a dynamic team of software developers and engineers to design innovative mobile applications for the education industry. While supporting the development of three separate applications, I gained valuable knowledge and training in Agile methodology and software development lifecycles. I believe that my internship and academic experience will allow me to deliver valuable contributions to your organization.
Solaris Software Inc.’s reputation for creating value for users is what draws me to apply for this position. I am confident that my bachelor’s degree in software engineering from the University of Portland and my experience as a software developer intern will allow me to aid your teams in designing scalable applications based on the following achievements from my career:
- Supported the software development team in designing a mobile Android application to aid college students in comparing prices for used college textbooks and subscription services, which garnered over 500K downloads following the launch
- Executed an academic project to design an application platform for users to improve vocabulary across ten different languages by providing a database of common colloquial phrases
I look forward to speaking with you further regarding how my application development experience can aid Solaris Software Inc. in continuing to create value for users. You may contact me via phone or email at your earliest convenience. I appreciate your time and consideration.
Sincerely, Curtis Jones
Jessica Adams Financial Analyst | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | 123 Address St., New York, NY, 12345
Raymond Johnson Hiring Manager Cohen Financial Partners (987) 654-3210 [email protected]
Dear Mr. Johnson,
During my internship with Brooklyn Financial Services, I interfaced with a team of financial analysts to evaluate investment opportunities for a multimillion-dollar firm. Through this experience, I gained valuable knowledge of business models, product use cases, and financial forecasting, which I believe makes me the ideal candidate for the financial analyst position with your company.
Cohen Financial Partners has a reputation for ethical business practices, which strongly aligns with my core values as a finance professional. I believe that I can continue to help your organization to grow your investment portfolio based on my previous achievements from my work experience and academic career:
- Conducted financial analysis of investment opportunities for new products in coordination with a team of economists and analysts, which included evaluating long-term financial outlook, product use cases, and long-term growth potential
- Supported the team in creating financial models and PowerPoint presentations on investments
- Wrote a 15-page research paper evaluating financial projections for the housing market and the impact of Covid-19 on first-time homebuyers
I would like to schedule an interview to discuss further how my experience in financial analysis and risk management can benefit your organization. Feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience with any additional questions you may have about my background. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Arthur Morris Marketing Professional | [email protected] | (123) 456-7890 | 123 Address St., Boston, MA 12345
Sarah Taylor Hiring Manager New England Marketing Inc. (987) 654-3210 [email protected]
Dear Ms. Taylor,
As a marketing intern with the Falmouth Marketing Consulting Agency, I coordinated with a team of specialists to enhance social media presence and web marketing for clients. I also attended meetings with creative teams to define brand messaging based on target audiences. Through these experiences, I developed an advanced understanding of social media marketing, which I believe will allow me to thrive in the marketing specialist position with your organization.
New England Marketing Inc.’s reputation for driving customer success is what draws me to apply for this position. I believe that my expertise in brand messaging, and social media marketing will allow me to provide valuable contributions to your organization based on my career achievements:
- Supported the marketing team in executing social media campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter platforms, utilized HootSuite to schedule posts based on KPIs, resulting in a 500% increase in followership on LinkedIn
- Collaborated with copywriters and SEO specialists to create engaging copy and brand messaging for clients, which resulted in a 10% increase in page views for a customer website
- Served on a student marketing team to manage Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn social media pages for the University of Columbia under the supervision of the Marketing Manager
I hope to speak with you further regarding my expertise in social media marketing and how it can benefit your organization. You may contact me via phone or email at your convenience. I appreciate your time and consideration.
Sincerely, Arthur Morris
Recent Graduate Cover Letter Checklist
A great nursing cover letter has five main elements:
1. Heading. Use a stylized template to help your information stand out. Be sure that your heading includes the following details:
- Your name, title, and contact info
- The date you sent the letter
- The addressee’s details
2. Salutation. Greet the hiring manager by Mr. or Ms. [Last Name]. If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, use “Dear Hiring Manager” instead.
3. Introduction. To grab the reader’s attention, you need to craft a strong introductory paragraph highlighting one of your defining career accomplishments. Using numbers to enhance the impact of your achievements is an effective strategy, but this can be more difficult for recent graduates due to a lack of industry experience. If you don’t have an internship you can point to, you should instead focus on showcasing academic achievements that demonstrate your qualifications for the job.
4. Body paragraphs. You want to continue to showcase achievements from your internships in the subsequent body paragraphs. If you haven’t had the opportunity to work in your field, you should instead draw attention to your academic projects. Using a list of bullet points to break up the monotony of the text on the page is helpful here, as this will improve the overall readability of your document. It’s also important to mention the organization’s reputation and its relation to your background and experience.
5. Closing section. For your closing paragraph, you want to create a call to action (CTA) that invites the hiring manager to bring you in for an interview. This will send a clear message to hiring managers that you’re confident and engaged during the initial phases of the application process.
A strong introduction typically features a defining accomplishment from your career backed with a compelling monetary figure or metric. Integrating numbers can help you tell your story better, but this can often be difficult for recent graduates who have yet to secure an entry-level position. In this instance, you want to focus on drawing attention to coursework that matches the job description or an academic project. Employers value candidates who have qualifications and skill sets that meet their needs, so you’ll want to tailor your cover letter to the job description as much as possible. Below, you’ll find an example to help you craft a strong introductory paragraph.
As a software engineering student at Boston University, I executed various application development projects during my academic career. My proudest achievement was designing a mobile application that enabled users to compare pricing, reviews, and restaurant reservations using Python. I am confident that my software engineering knowledge will allow me to immediately contribute to the fast-paced business environment with Sunset Software Corp.
I’ve recently completed my degree in software engineering and am looking for the opportunity to start my career in the industry. I’m excited for the chance to work with your team, and I’ve been exposed to various programming languages and application platforms during my time as a student. I’m a hard worker and creative problem solver who has all the skills you’re looking for.
Your body paragraphs should continue to highlight accomplishments from your work experience and academic career. Focus on drawing attention to how your background aligns with the company’s reputation or mission statement. Numbers and metrics are an effective tool for grabbing the reader’s attention, but as a recent graduate, you may need to employ other tactics to differentiate yourself from the competition. In this instance, you should focus on crafting paragraphs that highlight academic projects, coursework, awards, or even volunteerism. You should also consider using a list of bullet points to help break up the text on the page. Below, you’ll find an example to help you craft strong body paragraphs for your cover letter.
As a recent graduate in journalism from the University of Pennsylvania, I’m drawn to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s reputation for reporting and integrity. I believe that I can help your organization to continue this long-standing reputation based on the following achievements from my academic experience:
- Served as the Lead Editor for the UPenn Student Newspaper, coordinated with the head of the journalism department to conduct editing and publishing for 50+ news stories
- Provided constructive feedback to students on writing, tone, word choice, and reporting to enhance the quality of all newspaper content
- Wrote a story detailing the effects of gentrification on local Philadelphia residents, which included conducting interviews with 20+ subjects across various demographics
Having just completed my degree in journalism from a prestigious school, I have yet to acquire industry experience, but I am confident that I have the skill sets to succeed in this entry-level journalist position with your newspaper. Some of my past endeavors include creative writing in my spare time and avidly reading news stories from various sources. I wrote well for my school’s student newspaper during my time at the university and received high praise from my professor. I am very excited about the chance to join your team and jump start my career.
To close out your cover letter on a strong note, you need to include a call to action (CTA) that invites the hiring manager to take the next step and bring you in for an interview. You should also use this opportunity to reinforce how your qualifications and experience can create value for the organization. Be sure to thank the hiring manager for their time in the final sentence of the paragraph, as you want to communicate in a polite and professional manner during your correspondence. Below, you’ll find an example to help you craft a strong closing paragraph.
I hope to schedule an interview with you to discuss further how my expertise in brand marketing can help your creative team continue to grow exposure for your new product line. Feel free to contact me via phone or email at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I appreciate you taking the time to review my application and read my cover letter. This is an exciting opportunity for my career and I can’t wait to hear more about your company, and the position.
Other Resume & Cover Letter Examples
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Home Cover Letter Examples Recent Graduate Cover Letter
Recent Graduate Cover Letter Example
October 24, 2022 | By the Resume Genius Team | Reviewed by Conrad Benz
Writing a cover letter for your first job after graduation can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. With our recent graduate cover letter example and writing tips as a guide, it won’t be long before you’re part of the workforce.
Not happy with how this cover letter looks? We have many other cover letter template designs available.
Additional Templates & Samples Like a Recent Graduate Cover Letter
- Cover Letter for Internship
Entry Level Nurse Cover Letter
- High School Student Cover Letter
Recent Graduate Cover Letter Template (Text Format)
Using the right formatting for your cover letter ensures employers take your application seriously.
24 October 2022
2518 Lilac Ave
North Charleston, SC, 29405
Dear Ms. Johnston,
My name is James Amore, and I’m excited to apply for the position of Junior IT specialist at the French Central Inn, Charleston. I’m a recent graduate (December YYYY) in Management Information Systems (MIS) from Charleston Southern University, and I’m eager to enter the workforce. I meet all of the academic requirements mentioned in your job posting.
Growing up, I took a liking to all things tech and digital, which led to me picking MIS as my major. Apart from all the tech courses during my MIS studies, I thoroughly enjoyed and excelled at the psychology courses, as the intersection of tech and humanity (specifically, how people respond to and adapt to technological changes) is a passion of mine. It’s one that I discuss frequently on my tech blog: techfacts.com.
During my final year of university, I interned at Safe Homes Inc., a vendor providing an array of home security systems. I worked on both the hardware and software side, installing physical equipment as well as configuring the requisite software, and involved elements of IoT.
What excites me most about this position is that the role involves extensive work with the Internet of Things (IoT). As a leader in combining IoT and hospitality, working at your inn would be a fortuitous coming together of passion, competence, and opportunity.
I look forward to putting my knowledge and skills to use as a productive member of your IT department, and learning from the best in the industry. In an interview, I’d love to discuss my short- and long-term career goals and how they align with the French Central Inn’s tech vision. I await your call.
5 recent graduate cover letter tips
Learning how to put together a cover letter for the specific job(s) you want will help you land more interviews.
Putting together a cover letter for a job as a recent graduate can be difficult, especially if you don’t have any formal work or internship experience. Fortunately, it’s still possible to write a convincing cover letter that helps you land a job, no matter how much experience you have.
Here’s a breakdown of what to include in your recent graduate cover letter to wow employers and land your first job or internship out of college.
1. Briefly introduce yourself
Start your new grad cover letter by introducing yourself to your potential employers, just as you would if you were meeting them in person. Cover the basics — your name, your academic qualifications, and what position you’re applying for.
You should also mention how you discovered the job opening and if you were recommended by anyone currently working at the company. This can help you immediately establish a rapport with the hiring manager and improve your chances of getting an interview.
Here’s an example of a strong cover letter introduction paragraph for a recent graduate:
The candidate gives a concise summary of their education and qualifications, showing employers that they have the required licensure for an architect.
2. Connect your skills to the job
When applying for a job as a recent graduate, don’t worry about your lack of work experience . Instead, showcase the personality traits and soft skills you possess that make you an excellent match for the job.
First, think about all of your relevant interests and skills, or areas of work that you’re passionate about. Then, use your cover letter to connect them to the work being done at the company you want to work at.
Here’s an example of how one candidate uses their cover letter to advertise their passion for conversational Spanish:
If you’re applying for a job directly in your field of academic expertise, you can also explain what drew you to the field in the first place.
3. Highlight internship or project work experience
Your third paragraph should be the core of your recent grad cover letter. This is where you highlight your relevant experience, whether it’s from internships , extracurricular activities , or coursework . Your objective is to highlight any experience that taught you skills that are valuable in your target industry (e.g., your ability to work on a team, solve problems, or learn quickly).
Here’s an example of how one recent graduate uses the third paragraph of their cover letter to highlight their internship experience:
4. Explain why you’re a match for the job
Employers understand that as a recent graduate, you’ll likely be writing a cover letter with no work experience . What they want to see is that you’re passionate about the work and are enthusiastic to learn.
That’s why in your fourth paragraph you should take the opportunity to explain what about the position excites you. Be as specific as possible — if you’re interested in the product the company makes or even their work culture, be sure to mention it. Show that you’re interested in the specific job you’re applying to, and not just any job.
Here’s an example of how to effectively communicate your enthusiasm in a recent graduate cover letter:
This applicant comes across as eager to apply their skills to create a positive customer experience and ultimately benefit the company.
5. Finish with a clear call to action
Wrap up your new grad cover letter by strongly yet politely restating your interest in the position. Additionally, mention your interest in scheduling a phone call to discuss the job opportunity further.
This not only shows that you’re enthusiastic about the job, it also pushes the hiring manager to reach out to you.
Here’s an example of a strong closing sentence on a cover letter from a recent graduate:
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Sample Cover Letter for a Recent College Graduate
Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.
What to Include in Your Cover Letter
- Tips for Writing a Cover Letter
- Recent Graduate Cover Letter Example
How to Send an Email Cover Letter
Emilie Dunphy ÃÂ© The Balance
Writing a cover letter as a recent college graduate can seem complicated because you have limited work experience. However, there are ways to show the employer that you are an ideal candidate for the job.
Read below for advice on writing a cover letter for an entry-level position as a college graduate, as well as an example letter.
Introductory Paragraph: In the first paragraph of your cover letter, express your interest in both the job and the employer, mentioning the company by name. Cite the source where you discovered the job announcement. If you have a connection at the company who you know would support your candidacy, mention their name here .
Do not use a generic cover letter for all of your job applications. Each one should be reworked to speak directly to the identity and needs of the employer to whom it is sent.
Body Paragraphs: Use two or three short paragraphs in the body of your cover letter to “sell” your candidacy to the employer. While you should definitely mention the name of your college and your major (especially if this is directly related to the job), your cover letter shouldn’t be a simple biography of your academic history.
Instead, try to persuasively demonstrate how your college studies, internships, temporary / seasonal work experiences, and / or extracurricular experiences have given you the primary qualifications listed on the employer’s job posting.
Closing Paragraph: In your closing paragraph, reiterate your enthusiasm for the job opportunity and thank the employer for their consideration. This is the best place to request a personal interview and to explain how you intend to follow up on your application .
Tips for Writing a Recent College Graduate Cover Letter
Use keywords. Take a careful look at the job description, noting any skills or experiences that the description indicates. Try to include some of those keywords in your cover letter. This will show the employer a connection between your experiences and the job.
Focus on activities and responsibilities. In the body of your cover letter, emphasize the skills and experiences that make you a good candidate. Avoid focusing on your GPA or grades, or other metrics related to college. Instead, focus on activities you did, and the responsibilities you held. Maybe you had an internship or were a leader in a school organization. These examples go beyond showing that you were a good student. They show you have what it takes to be a good employee.
Sell yourself. Avoid talking about how much you want the job; instead, focus on how you will help out the company. Emphasize ways that you can add value at the company, and why you are a good fit for them.
Show your knowledge of the company. Research the company before writing the cover letter. If possible, explain what you know about the company (or the department the job is in). Perhaps you’ve read an article about the company’s recent successes, or you’ve read and believed in the company’s mission statement.
Knowledge of the company will put you a step above the competition.
Edit, edit, edit. Make sure you thoroughly read through your letter, editing any typos or grammar errors. Keep your message short and to-the-point, using language that is easy to understand. Ask a friend or career coach to read it for you as well.
Recent College Graduate Cover Letter Example
You can use this cover letter sample as a model. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.
Recent College Graduate Cover Letter Example (Text Version)
Your Name Address City, State Zip Code Phone Number Email
Name Title Company Address City, State Zip Code
Dear Mr./Ms. LastName,
I am writing to apply for the position of Media Relations Assistant Manager, which I saw advertised on MediaJobs.com. ABCD is a fast-moving global institution and an outstanding communications pioneer, now poised to guide the direction of print journalism. I believe that my extensive experience in media makes me an ideal candidate for this position at your company.
As a recent graduate of the State University, I have a significant background in media. As a media major, I held multiple internships, including Media Relations Coordinator Intern at XYZ Company. I also served as president of the Media and Marketing Club at school. We successfully developed and pitched an advertisement campaign for a local nonprofit, which helped increase donations to the nonprofit by 22 percent.
You state in your job listing that you are looking for someone with strong writing skills and an attention to detail. Throughout all four years of college, I worked part-time as a copy editor for an online journal. This job required great attention to detail in writing and editing. I would love to bring my editing skills to a position with your company.
These strengths, combined with deep and varied academic, internship, and employment experience, have prepared me to make a strong and immediate impact at ABCD.
I am excited about the opportunity to join the ABCD team as it moves to the center of the print media conversation. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Your Signature (hard copy letter)
Your Typed Name
If you're sending your cover letter via email , list your name and the job title in the subject line of the email message. Include your contact information in your email signature, and don't list the employer contact information. Start your email message with the salutation.
YOUR COVER LETTER IS YOUR “SALES PITCH”: Your cover letter is far more than an expression of your interest in a job opening. Ideally, it should be a powerful marketing document that summarizes the unique qualifications that you could bring to the employer.
FOCUS ON THE EMPLOYER: Every statement you make in your cover letter should serve to respond to the needs of the employer (as these are expressed in their job announcement). Don’t write extensive biography here. Instead, highlight the skills you offer.
MAKE YOUR COVER LETTER LETTER-PERFECT: Most hiring managers view carelessly written, generic cover letters as a red flag. Carefully edit your letter to eliminate all grammatical, spelling, and formatting errors. Ask a grammar-savvy friend to proofread it for you as well.
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Recent Graduate Cover Letter Sample
After toiling away in classrooms for four (or more) years, getting a job right out of college is a natural goal. But composing a recent graduate cover letter can feel like a kind of catch 22. On one hand, you don't have much material to work with; on the other, you need a strong resume and cover letter to get you in the door.
Why would you even bother with a cover letter in the first place? Thing is, your goal of finding a job as a new grad is shared by every other graduate in the country—plus all the other entry-level job seekers out there—so the competition is understandably fierce. A smart, enthusiastic, and tailored cover letter will help set you apart from the masses.
About the whole lack-of-job-experience thing—how do you explain that to potential employers without sounding like a total newbie? Don't fret: Companies aren’t expecting you to have worked loads of jobs, but they will be interested to know which of your skills and talents you’ve developed while in school.
Ideas for a College Cover Letter
Most cover letter examples for college students will encourage you to highlight what you've learned in class, plus any skills you picked up while working side jobs and/or internships—especially ones that are relevant to the position you’re seeking. Just as important is your enthusiasm for the job itself. A cover letter is a great chance to let a company know you’re not just looking for any old job but that you’re specifically looking for a job with them. (Everyone likes to feel special, even giant corporations.)
There are plenty of ways you can show that you have both ambition and skills that are valued in the workforce . To get you started, take a look at the following questions posed in the bullet points, and make a list of any applicable experience you have under each one. Did you:
- Take certification courses?
- Volunteer at a charitable organization ?
- Lead a group project in college?
- Belong to any school clubs?
- Give a presentation to your class?
- Help a professor with a research project?
All of those opportunities can lead to relevant experiences that are perfect for a college student cover letter, whether you’re about to finish your studies and enter the real world or are a year or two from making the leap.
Get started on your career today. View our college graduate cover letter sample below as a guideline, or see all cover letter examples on Monster.
Recent Graduate Cover Letter
Josh Michaels 4 Church St. | Sometown, NJ 08888 | (555) 555-5555 | [email protected] [date]
Katherine Yu HR Director ABC Company 1530 State St. Anytown, NJ 08999
Dear Ms. Yu:
Your advertisement for an HR assistant fits my qualifications perfectly, and I am writing to express my interest in and enthusiasm for the position.
After completing a business degree from Rutgers University in May, I enrolled in a human resource development program to enhance my credentials in my chosen field. Course highlights include: Leadership in an Organizational Setting, Performance & Task Analysis in Human Resource Development, and Technology in HR Settings.
Based on your description of the ideal candidate, I also offer:
- A solid educational foundation in organizational development, employee training and development skills and knowledge of how to use technology to improve individual/organizational performance
- A proven ability to build rapport with individuals from all backgrounds
- A track record of excellent performance as a part-time/summer employee concurrent with full-time college enrollment
I would very much like to meet in person to share more of my qualifications and learn more about your HR support needs. Please feel free to call me at (555) 555-5555 or email at [email protected]
Thank you for your time and review of the enclosed resume, and I look forward to speaking with you.
Josh Michaels Enclosure: Resume
Show Off Your College Graduate Cover Letter
Now that your recent graduate cover letter is out of the way, you want to make sure you’re getting in front of as many hiring managers in your field as you can. Want some help with that? Monster has a bunch of free resources for job seekers to help you launch your career from a strong, solid foundation.
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Recent Graduate Cover Letter Examples & Writing Guide
Recent graduate cover letter examples.
I had an interview yesterday and the first thing they said on the phone was: “Wow! I love your cover letter.” Patrick I love the variety of templates. Good job guys, keep up the good work! Dylan My previous cover letter was really weak and I used to spend hours adjusting it in Word. Now, I can introduce any changes within minutes. Absolutely wonderful! George
1. Use the Professional Cover Letter Format
2. make a header with your contact information, cover letter for recent graduate: header , 3. identify yourself and the position, recent graduate cover letter: introduction, 4. tell them why they should choose you, recent graduate cover letter sample: second paragraph, 5. tell them why you chose them, recent graduate cover letter sample: third paragraph, 6. ask for an interview and close the deal, recent graduate cover letter sample: sign off & call to action, was it interesting here are similar articles.
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Writing a Recent Graduate Cover Letter
Oct 15, 2020
How to write a cover letter as a recent graduate
If you’re a recent college graduate and looking for your first professional job, it’s crucial to carefully construct your resume––and then write the perfect cover letter to go with it.
It’s important to give your cover letter as much attention as your resume because industry experts say that a cover letter is just as important when you are considered for job opening. Carefully written, your letter should market your most relevant skills and experiences so that you position yourself in the best light possible for recent graduate jobs.
An entry level cover letter is key to sharing your relevant experiences with a hiring manager. You want them to know about your college resume, details of those experiences, and how you fit with their company. You want to make sure they know that your skills and experiences match what they’re looking for, whether you’re a graduate in business, STEM or creative majors.
You can also use your cover letter to explain a specific experience or to add in an anecdote that also reveals your personality. For example, you can explain that you’re willing to relocate for the position or provide other valuable information about yourself and experiences that your resume can’t.
Begin with an outline of the details you want to include. Take time to consider what you’ve accomplished, your best skills and abilities, and what makes you standout. After all, the goal is to write a compelling letter that connects your qualifications with the job description and impresses your prospective employer.
Perhaps check the resources of your alma mater to get started on how to find a job after college , and the writing process for resumes and cover letters. Many colleges and universities have online advice and opportunities for personal counseling to assist you. You will also find extensive resources for entry level cover letter templates and sample cover letters.
How should you begin to write your letter?
Begin by making a list of honest answers to the topics listed below. This will help you kick-start an outline for a cover letter that will land you your dream job!
- List your unique qualities and strengths.
- Think about what attracts you to this employer.
- How will you use your talents in this position?
- What skills and abilities did you develop from a summer job, internship and on-campus employment?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
- How can you provide examples of transferable skills, like communication skills, a strong work ethic, teamwork and interpersonal skills? Remember, employers also are looking for analytical skills, problem-solving skills and technology skills.
- Think about what class assignments and projects have resembled “real world” experiences.
- What student organizations have you been active in? Did you just show up for meetings or did you hold a leadership position? That’s an important distinction.
- Did you study abroad? Do you have international experience and fluency in another language?
- Have you done an internship that is relevant? What skills did you learn during this internship and how are they applicable?
Now that you have your inventory of selling points about yourself, you can begin to write an effective cover letter. You should never write more than three or four paragraphs that give the reasons why you are qualified for the opening. You don’t want to repeat your resume, just point out some highlights. Explain why you are interested in the position, include professional information, and show that you have an understanding of the organization. Then finish with a strong closing paragraph that includes your availability for an interview.
What sections should my cover letter include?
Your cover letter should include these sections, common to standard letter formats:
- Heading: Date, your address, home and cell phone numbers, email address, and address of the employer.
- Introduction: greeting, add name of specific person if possible
- Opening paragraph: Give the name of the position you’re applying for and how you heard about it. Tell the potential employer why you are qualified. Include two or three examples that you will expand upon in the letter. These topics should come from your resume. Here is some sample content from a letter template accessible at Indeed.com : “I was excited to find the above open position at [company name] and would like you to consider me for the job. As you can see from my resume, I have [relevant recent experience, including number of years/months and brief description of what you did].”
- Two to three body paragraphs: Your letter should specifically pertain to the job application. Give compelling reasons and specific examples about why you are qualified for the job. Do not just list your skills, the cover letter is meant to expand upon the lists in your resume. Use keywords in your letter that are cross-referenced in the job description and align the language. List additional experiences and education that matches the job requirements and demonstrates your qualifications for the position. Your cover letter should be formal and professional. However, you can adapt your cover letter to fit the style of the business. Check the company's website and social media to help you determine the appropriate tone to use.
- Closing: Emphasize again why are you perfect for the open position. Include your availability for an interview, and how the hiring manager can reach you. Here is an example from Indeed.com: “Thank you for your time and consideration. Feel free to contact me [best time to contact or "anytime" if you have no preference] at the above number if you would like to schedule an interview.”
How to ensure your letter is successful
- Make sure you’ve formatted your cover letter in the right way.
- Study the information about the job opening carefully and refer your qualifications to the specific position.
- Research the employer and use your networking skills to speak to people who might have connections to the company.
- Do an informational interview with people in your network to understand more about the company and possible tips for your job search.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread! If your letter contains typos and grammatical errors, you may get passed over immediately. Careless errors demonstrate that you don’t have attention to detail and aren't focused on adequate communication skills.
- If you have written several cover letter drafts, double-check to make sure you’re referencing the right position and correct organization.
- Ask multiple people to proofread your letter and offer suggestions.
Before you send it off:
- Verify the contact information and address for the employer. Then make sure your own contact information is correct, again! Do you have a link to a personal website or portfolio? If so you could add it.
- Again check the spelling of the hiring manager’s name before you send the letter.
- Choose the right file format, such as .doc or PDF formats. To select a file format for your cover letter, click on File, Save As, and find the “Format” field. From a drop-down menu, you can select .doc or PDF.
Jenny Foss of themuse.com offers these insights from hiring managers who read cover letters:
- Think about engaging the reader. Do you have a theme or a point to make that will make you stand out?
- Are you relaying your excitement for the job and the company? A hiring manager can tell if you’ve done your homework.
- A cover letter allows you to really emphasize why you’re applying for the position and why you’re unique among dozens of other applicants.
- If you’re passionate about the company’s products or services, this is your place to share that enthusiasm.
- Explain how your skills and talents can meet the needs of the employer. This will show that you’ve tailored your application to this job and that you’re a good match.
- Give your letter some personality.
- Make sure you connect your skills and experience to the job description so your employer knows you can make an impact on day one.
Cover letters for recent graduates in business majors
As you prepare a recent graduate resume and sample cover letters, ask several faculty members at your college or university for feedback.
“Everyone has a different perspective and I encourage business students to talk with instructors who’ve been in their desired field,” said Ryan Decker , assistant professor of economics at North Central College and a former executive at PwC in the area of Financial Transactions Transfer Pricing. “Find faculty who’ve actually reviewed resumes and cover letters and interviewed candidates in your desired line of work.”
For a business major, having work experience and/completing an internship is a huge plus, said Decker. “It’s also about crafting the language in such a way that it speaks to your skills and how they are applicable to the job you are applying for,” he said. “If you do not have prior work experience, you should focus on their extracurricular activities such as organizations and clubs. But always important to highlight your unique attributes and experience to stand out from the crowd.” Here’s a sample of how to market yourself as a recent graduate in a business major:
“I interned at Company X and spent eight weeks in their customer service program. My responsibilities included working with customers, entering information in a database, and answering inquiries. I am confident the skills learned from this experience will help me succeed in this position. In addition, I have taken several courses in business communications and marketing. I also have advanced technology skills, including programs like Salesforce.”
Recent graduate cover letter examples for a creative major
If you’re hoping to enter a field that uses a major in a creative field or major, your cover letter should be the first place a potential employer or hiring manager sees your creativity.
Think about how you might express your individuality and/or your writing and storytelling skills. How can you engage the reader and provide a glimpse of your skills?
There are many approaches, and a website like themuse.com can get you thinking about the best approach for you. You could consider telling a personal anecdote or explaining your passion for writing, designing, theatre, directing, or public relations upfront.
If you’ve been active with your school publication, here’s an example of how you can market your skills:
“One of my responsibilities has been to proofread and edit the articles written by student reporters about campus events and local news. This experience not only helped me improve my editing skills, but also required me to develop skills in leadership, time management, communication, and teamwork. In addition, my coursework sharpened my writing skills and research and analytical abilities. I feel confident that my editorial experience and academic work will make me a valued employee of your public relations firm."
Recent graduate cover letter examples for a STEM major
If you’re a recent graduate or still in school, ask for help reviewing your cover letters from faculty who’ve worked in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field you’re entering. They can give you some important insights into a job interview and what hiring managers are looking for.
“I always tell my students to first work with our campus career services professionals to get help with writing cover letters and resumes,” said Frank Harwarth , professor of engineering at North Central College who spent three decades working in the industry. “Then I will often review them before the students submit them to a company.” In your letter, Indeed.com recommends explaining why this position is a great fit for you and how this position is in line with your future career aspirations. Highlight the accomplishments on your resume that match with the requirements in the job description. If you’ve performed research, explain your relevant experience, qualifications, and skills. Use data and facts to quantify your qualifications, if you can. Here’s an example of a cover letter to market yourself in a computer field:
“From the job description, this position requires a background in many types of programming and software used in web design. This includes C, C++, Visual Basic, and Java, and you’ll see that I have extensive course work and first-hand experience with these programs. My student job experience as a troubleshooter in the campus information technology office helped me further develop my skills. Additionally, I worked as an intern for [a software company] last summer. This experience provided additional exposure to both PC and Mac platforms and a variety of software. The skills I’ve developed would be a great asset in helping your IT department in this position.”
In closing, here are a few final tips.
- Write a strong opening statement that explains why you want the job and why you’re qualified for it.
- Be succinct - a hiring manager wants to gain the key points quickly.
- Share an experience that shows you can tackle the employer’s challenges.
- Try to be funny - you can fall flat and give the wrong impression.
- Send a generic cover letter - customize every letter for the opening
- Include too much insincere flattery and praise- your tone should be professional.
Laura Zahn Pohl is an editorial director in higher education with more than 17 years of experience as a content writer, publications editor and speechwriter. An honors graduate of the University of Iowa School of Journalism, her experience includes corporate communications and freelance reporting for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Kalamazoo Gazette.
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